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Best Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Running Brands in 2021

 

Do you have a favorite running brand?

Chances are you like a particular brand for shoes, another one for clothing, and yet others for accessories. But how many of your top brands are eco-friendly?

In the past, manufacturing running shoes, apparel, and accessories took a huge toll on the environment. But these days, many of our favorite brands have taken big steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly.

Now you can do your part towards saving the planet while you’re running! Here are the best sustainable and eco-friendly running brands to consider buying from.

They’re doing good things and making excellent quality products, so if you aren’t supporting them yet, consider doing so!

Rockay

Rockay is one of the newcomers on the running scenes, in comparison to other more established brands. Their founder, Daniel Chabert, is an ultra runner who felt called to do something to help change the state of our environment.

Being a long-distance runner, Chabert naturally gravitated towards a sustainable running brand. And so Rockay was born. From the start, they’ve been making waves in the running world with their innovative apparel.

Every one of their products is crafted with plenty of eco-friendly materials and packaged in stuff that they’ve recycled and that you can recycle too. Their processes have also been refined to reduce the amount of chemicals and water used in the production, as well as the amount of waste that comes out of the process.

They offer a large variety of apparel, including shirts, shorts, tights, socks, beanies, and compression sleeves. Whatever you buy, you’ll be helping clean up the ocean thanks to Rockay’s partnership with ReSea Project.

  • 38 plastic bottles removed from the ocean for every pair of shorts purchased.
  • 57 plastic bottles removed from the ocean for every t-shirt purchased.
  • 13 plastic bottles removed from the ocean for every pair of socks purchased.

They use a wide variety of different technologies, of which their Polygiene tech is one of the most interesting and useful. It’s created using recycled silver salt and reduces odor-causing bacteria significantly.

The addition of this tech to your apparel means you don’t need to wash it after every use. It may sound odd, but just a browse through reviews indicates that it works! It’s also bluesign approved, which is a big thumbs-up in the environmental world.

This is just another way you’ll have a positive impact on the environment if you choose Rockay. By washing your apparel less, you’ll be saving water.

And the best thing? They have a one-year guarantee on shirts and shorts, and a lifetime guarantee on socks and sleeves!

If you want to support this innovative, sustainable brand but you’ve already got pretty much all your apparel, consider buying something small, like a pair of their famous socks or a calf compression sleeve!

1. Rockay Blaze Compression Sleeve

Made of recycled materials and featuring graduated compression of 16-23 mm Hg, these calf compression sleeves are as eco-friendly as they are effective.

Available in a wide range of colors to suit your every mood, they offer excellent support and have mesh zones throughout to allow for maximum breathability without compromising the structure of the sleeve.

They’re also imbued with Rockay’s Polygiene anti-odor technology, so odors will stay away and you don’t need to wash them after every use. Simply air dry and use again the next time!

This compression sleeve also comes with a lifetime guarantee, so there’s extremely little to lose when investing in one.

PROS:

  • Breathable mesh zones
  • Polygiene anti-odor technology
  • Graduated compression 16-23 mm Hg
  • Available in a wide variety of colors

CONS:

  • May run slightly long
 

Janji

Janji is another less-known brand, but they’re doing great things. The company donates 5% of every sale towards clean water projects in various countries.

They also have an innovative “giving back” process. Janji selects a country to inspire their upcoming seasonal apparel and design their new creations based around the culture of the country, with the help of local artists.

Once they have a collection, they select an NPO partner who’s working on clean water solutions. They’ll then come out to their chosen country to test the shoes out before launching their collection. 2% of proceeds go back to the NPO partner!

They’re big on ethical practices, including eco-friendly fabric (sustainable cotton, recycled polyester and nylon, and fewer synthetic fabrics), recyclable packaging, environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes, and reducing waste.

Janji is also working on something similar to Rockay’s technology that allows for less frequent washing.

2. Shorts

Janji’s most popular shorts are their 5” AFO Middle Shorts (men’s) and 3” AFO Middle Shorts (women).

They use AFO fabric (AirFlatOut), which is designed to be extremely breathable, wick away moisture, and dry unusually quickly. Their shorts feature a perforated waistband for extra ventilation and bonded hem seams for less chafing.

Both the men’s and the women’s shorts have a zippered pocket in the back middle that can hold a phone or other valuables. The women’s back pocket has a key-loop bungee attached. On the men’s, a front inner pocket holds the bungee.

The women’s shorts are 3 inches in length and the men’s are slightly longer, at 5 inches.

PROS:

  • AFO fabric
  • Zippered back pocket
  • Perforated elastic waistband
  • Bonded seams

CONS:

  • May run slightly small
 

3. Shirts

The Janji Runterra is one of the company’s best-selling shirts. One of the best features of these shirts (both the men’s and the women’s) is their 37.5 technology.

This uses volcanic fibers integrated into the fabric, which not only makes your shirt pretty awesome, but also regulates your body temperature as you get active.

The shirts are made from Supima cotton, which is soft against the skin and wicks away sweat. The men’s shirt features a raglan sleeve for the highest range of motion, and the women’s has rolled-back shoulder seams for improved comfort.

Both have neck locker loops to easily hang for quick drying. It’s important to note that the shirts are made of 70 to 75% natural fiber, so they may shrink slightly when washed. It’s a good idea to go a size larger if this could be an issue for you.

PROS:

  • Supima cotton
  • Comfort designs
  • 37.5 technology
  • Interior neck locker

CONS:

  • May shrink slightly when washed the first time
 

Patagonia

Patagonia is an outdoor apparel brand that’s not specific to running, but they do offer some excellent stuff for runners. They do a lot of good for the planet in a large variety of different ways.

Firstly, they give at least 1% of their pre-tax profits (“Earth tax”) to environmental organizations.

Secondly, they offer a trade-in system for used gear, so you can send your old stuff back to them for recycling and get discounted rates.

Thirdly, they sell used gear at a lower price, which helps you out and greatly reduces emissions and waste from the manufacturing process.

Interestingly, they also have a food growing and selling system which is aimed at restoring the planet and providing quality food, rather than depleting our natural resources.

Activism is part of their culture. Not only do they offer grants to environmental organizations, but they also connect interested volunteers with groups in which they can make a difference, through Patagonia Action Works.

The company is constantly reassessing the materials and processes they’re using to see where they can do better. If you’re looking for a way to support, a way to invest is with their Houdini jacket, a lightweight and comfortable shell for running in cooler weather.

4. Patagonia Houdini Jacket

The Houdini is the ideal jacket for those cold winter runs, or fresh morning workouts. Both the men’s and the women’s are made from recycled ripstop nylon with a durable water-repellent coating to keep you warm and dry.

The fabric is also wind-resistant and has a drawcord at the hem and elasticated cuffs help to block out the wind so you don’t get that chill. An easy-adjust hood keeps your head warm too!

When you need to store the jacket or take it on trips with you (because you’ll want to wear it everywhere), it folds up into the front zippered pocket to a fraction of its size.

PROS:

  • Men’s and women’s designs
  • Durable water-repellent (DWR) coating
  • Zippered chest pocket becomes stuff sack
  • Half-elastic cuffs and drawcord hem

CONS:

  • Runs slightly small
 

Teko

Teko’s mission is to create the most eco-friendly socks on the planet and to do their bit to save that planet while they’re at it.

They make running, hiking, and snow gear. Their materials include recycled polyester and commercial fishing nets, used bottles, and responsibly farmed Merino wool.

As far as possible depending on the season, they make use of renewable energy in their factory. As a result of their efforts, they’ve won a number of awards for being environmentally friendly and have also been named one of the UK’s most innovative companies.

5. Teko EVAPOR8 Socks

We recommend the EVAPOR8, which are low-cut socks that are ideal for summer running. They’re made from EVAPOR8 fibers (recycled polyester), which have moisture-wicking abilities and are soft and comfy against the skin.

The anatomical design gives it an effective fit, and the IMPAX Zoned Cushion System offers a bit more comfort.

PROS:

  • Low, comfortable cut
  • EVAPOR8 fiber
  • Anatomical design
  • IMPAX Zoned Cushioning System

CONS:

  • May run a little large
 

Athleta

Athleta is a women-only brand. They’re not only committed to sustainability, but they’re also all about empowering women and girls and creating equal opportunities.

They’re a certified B Corp, which means they’re recognized as a company that’s making a positive difference and being transparent about their methods.

So far, they’re hitting some excellent numbers:

  • 71% of their materials are made with sustainable fiber
  • 3% of their products use water-saving techniques in production
  • 74% of their packaging waste has been diverted from landfill

They also make a wide variety of apparel, not just sporting stuff. Dresses, bras, and even sleepwear are other options, but since we’re talking about running, we recommend investing in the Athleta Trekkie North Jogger.

6. Athleta Trekkie North Jogger

Tired of the regular old leggings or sweatpants? The Athleta Trekkie North Jogger is stylish and unique, and comes in three neutral colors so you can pair whatever other apparel you want with them.

They’re ideal for warm-weather running. Moisture-wicking material and a UPF-50sun protection factor keep you safe, cool, and dry out on the road or trail.

A knit waistband with a drawcord helps you get the perfect fit. There are also three zippered pockets, which is a lovely change for women’s joggers!

PROS:

  • Available in three neutral colors
  • Moisture-wicking material
  • UPF-50 sun protection
  • 3 zippered pockets

CONS:

  • Runs slightly large
 

tentree

tentree is another certified B-Corp brand. The Canadian company is making a big difference by planting 10 trees for every item you buy!

Apart from that, they also make an effort to use sustainable materials. These include Tencel fibers (made from wood pulp), recycled polyester, organic cotton, and hemp. They’re also committed to replacing all their plastic packaging materials with sustainable options by 2023.

tentree is also a fan of ethical manufacturing, which extends to both materials and the way they treat the people they work with. Transparency is also important to them, which is always refreshing.

Other than that, they’ve also done their bit to remove many tonnes of CO2 from our atmosphere, as well as reforested more than 5,000 hectares of land. You can help them out by subscribing to one of their Climate+ plans.

These are carbon offsetting plans which range in price from $4 to $400+. Choose from things like long showers, binge watching, food delivery, daily driving, using plastic bags, surfing the net, and even gift wrap.

The contribution you make monthly offsets your footprint. It’s an excellent way to give back, and an even better way to teach kids about the impact we have on the environment and how we can help fix it.

7. tentree TreeBlend Classic T-Shirt

This is a long-sleeved men’s shirt made of recycled polyester, Tencel, and organic cotton. It’s light, airy, and comfortable, and would make an excellent base layer.

Available in a range of colors and various sizes, it’s cold wash only and should be air-dried. Putting it in the washing machine could result in shrinkage.

PROS:

  • Made of sustainable fabrics
  • Medium stretch
  • Ribbed neck band
  • Available in various sizes

CONS:

  • Cold wash only
 

8. tentree Livestream Classic Tank

This women’s tank top is ideal for hot weather. It’s lightweight and made from tentree’s TreeBlend material, which is a combination of recycled polyester, Tencel Lyocell, and organic cotton.

The back hem has a small overlap design, creating an attractive cut for ladies as well as improving the breathability of the tank. Cold wash and air dry only!

PROS:

  • Made from recycled materials
  • Attractive overlap back design
  • Lightweight

CONS:

  • Cold wash only
 
The Wired Runner